Good morning, it’s Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Fifty-one years ago today, cornered and panicked National Guardsmen sent to quell unrest at Kent State University opened fire without warning on a crowd of antiwar demonstrators. Four students — William Knox Schroeder, Allison B. Krause, Jeffrey Glenn Miller, and Sandra Lee Scheuer — were killed. Eight others were wounded, including Dean Kahler, who was paralyzed from the waist down.
The day before, Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes had gone to Kent, where he denounced the demonstrators as “the worst type of people that we harbor in America.” This was an ugly thing to say. Absurd, too. The people he was talking about were dedicated and politically engaged college students, most of whom had never committed a crime in their lives. Very few of them were committing a crime that day, either: They were protesting an increasingly unpopular war. They were also very young. Allison Krause had turned 19 less than two weeks earlier. Bill Schroeder was also 19. Jeff Miller and Sandy Scheuer were 20, as was Kahler, a first-semester freshman. Scheuer and Schroeder weren’t even participating in the protest. They were walking to class.
“Gotta get down to it — soldiers are cutting us down,” Neil Young sang in his angry anthem memorializing their martyrdom. “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How could you run when you know?”
A couple of years ago, Joe Biden was riffing off this pivotal tragedy when he said, inexplicably, that “over 40 kids were shot” at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I’m not sure what he was thinking: The death toll that day was bad enough, so much so that it helped alter the course of U.S. public opinion about the war in Vietnam. Today, President Biden is scheduled to speak in the White House about the progress of coronavirus vaccinations. Precision of language will be important, especially with a cohort of Americans who are doing their country no favor by refusing to be immunized against this pandemic that is still killing people all over the world. As “Star Wars” fans would tell him today: “May the 4th be with you, Mr. President.”
With that, I’d point you to RCP’s front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters, columnists, and contributors:
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Fact-Checkers Missed Stealth Edits to Abrams Op-Ed. John Hirschauer and Chandler Lasch have the details.
“Sleepy Joe” Was Just a Charade. Columnist J. Peder Zane writes that the president’s unifier stance as a candidate masked an authoritarian streak and strategy.
The Politics of Attacking Tim Scott. Charles Lipson explains why he believes the black senator’s response to Joe Biden’s speech last week elicited so much vitriol from progressives.
Collect Unpaid Taxes Rather Than Raise Corporate Rate. Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln argues that focusing on uncollected revenue would be more productive for the economy than increasing rates, as the president proposes.
The Curious Case of the Asian American Victim. Prominent Asian Americans have embraced a narrative of pervasive, historical victimization by whites — against much evidence to the contrary, Richard Bernstein reports for RealClearInvestigations.
The Last Contested Election Result of 2020. At RealClearPolicy, Alan R. Ostergren provides an insider’s view of Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ six-vote victory in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, which was finally decided on March 31.
NYT Argues With Itself About Biden and Taxes. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny cites a Times report on 1 percenters and the taxes they pay in California to make a bigger point about the president’s spending proposals.
Sale of Yahoo and AOL Wrecks Big-Tech Hysteria. Also at RCM, Patrick Hedger puts Verizon’s decision into historical context.
Gen Z Is Anything But Politically Ill-Informed. At RealClear’s American Civics portal, Samuel J. Abrams reports the surprising results of a recent survey.
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Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics